With urbanization and changes in lifestyle, India is witnessing an unprecedented rise in the number of breast cancer cases across all sections of society. With an estimated of 1.5 lakh new cases in 2016, breast cancer is the number one cancer in Indian women and also the leading cause among cancer deaths. As compared to other parts of the world, Indian women are getting breast cancer at younger ages and dying more because of this disease. Lack of awareness and complexity in treating late stage breast cancer has been the prime reason for these increasing numbers.
To reverse the number, we need to make people aware of the early detection and break the myths and illogical beliefs associated with it. Everyone’s breasts are different and it can change from time to time, i.e., at the time of female puberty, time of motherhood, time of menopause and as you grow older. But it is very important for all of us to know how your breast look normally and feel, so it will be easier to spot difference if there is any unusual changes. Understanding the first sign of breast cancer is not so difficult. The check which can be performed individually for the first sign of breast cancer is as simple as TLC which means TOUCH, LOOK and CHECK. In majority of females, the formation of lump in the breast is the first sign of breast cancer to watch out. No one knows your body better than you; hence it’s good to get into the habit of doing self examination regularly when you are in the bath or getting dressed in the morning.
Signs to look out:
- Firstly check whether you can feel the lump in breast, armpit or upper chest, then check for unusual pain. Some lumps are not cancerous.
- Check for change in size or shape of the breast. Check for change in texture. Example: breast may look red or inflamed. Sometimes you may observe puckering or dimpling of skin of the breast.
- Appearance or direction of nipple should also be considered while observing for symptoms of breast cancer. Example: one nipple might become inverted, when it normally points out.
- Look out for any kind of discharge either from one or both breasts.
- Look out for any rash or crusting of the nipple or surrounding area.
Depending on the type and stage of breast cancer, treatment plan is designed as:
- Local Treatment – some treatments are called local treatment as they treat the tumors without affecting the body. The local therapy for breast cancer includes surgery i.e., either mastectomy or breast conserving surgery and radiations using high energy rays or particles that destroy cancer cells.
- Systemic Treatment – breast cancer can also be treated using drug, which can be taken orally or directly into bloodstream. These are called systemic therapies because they can reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. Depending on the type of breast cancer, several types of drugs might be used. This includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy and targeted therapy.
It is time people stop shying and come forward to fight this deadly disease, since it is curable in early stages and hence early detection is very important. With advance in medical sciences lot of new tests and treatments are available and coming up which are good weapons to fight against breast cancer. Celebrities such as Kylie Minogue, Martina Navratilova and Mumtaz have fought bravely against breast cancer. It is really essential to spread awareness about this disease and motivate people to fight it.
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Radha K. Iyer is a contributing writer on Treatum Blog. When she is not writing, she can be found reading health and food blogs or experimenting with her culinary skills.
Disclaimer: The entire content of this article is for information purpose only and is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. It is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.